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Woman who raised fox that Colorado Parks and Wildlife euthanized shares her story

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 5:41 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently euthanized a fox that a Colorado Springs woman had kept as a pet for more than two years.

Parks and Wildlife officials said she “kidnapped” the fox. The woman involved, Ashley Yeager, disagrees.

“It was either I take him in or he dies is really what it came down to,” Yeager said. “So we just raised him and then he ended up becoming a part of our family.”

Yeager said her friend found the fox in 2018 near Alamosa.

“All of his siblings were dead. The mom had either died or had abandoned them,” she said.

At first, Yeager said she called CPW. She said they told her to “let nature take its course.”

“I knew that if I didn’t do anything, this fox was going to die.”

So Yeager raised the young animal, giving him goats’ milk and vaccines. Two years later, she decided to start an Instagram account for him.

“When COVID hit, I was like, ‘It’s a sad time. People have lost their jobs. They’ve lost friends. They’ve lost families,’ and so I wanted people to see the joy that he brought,” Yeager said.

Between that Instagram account and a private Facebook group, Yeager believes someone tipped CPW off. On Friday, wildlife officers seized the fox and euthanized it.

“To let a small kit die just because it’s wildlife isn’t right. We’re supposed to make it better not worse.”

But CPW said this is a prime example of why wildlife should be kept wild.

“Unfortunately, from the minute this animal was taken from the wild, there were nothing but bad choices and bad outcomes,” said Frank McGee, the area wildlife manager for CPW.

In most cases, CPW said people who illegally possess wildlife could face a $100 fine. McGee said Yeager was not cited.

“This animal was treated as a family pet, and so losing the animal was pretty traumatic for that family, and we felt that that was adequate punishment in this case,” he said.

Yeager said she was upset that CPW decided to euthanize the fox instead of taking it to a sanctuary. McGee said they didn’t have a choice.

“There’s no way for us to really know for sure that this animal wasn’t carrying diseases that were dangerous to people and other pets and because it had been in contact with other people and pets, it needs to be tested,” he said. “Unfortunately, the only way we can do that is to euthanize the animal.”

McGee said he hopes this serves as a reminder for people to leave wild animals alone.

“This is a super tragic situation. None of us are happy with the outcome, which is why we are reaching out to people and begging them to just not take things from the wild,” he said.

Looking back on her two years with the fox, Yeager said she would only change one thing.

“I think literally the only thing I would have changed is I never would have posted him on anything.”

Yeager says she plans to become a licensed sanctuary for foxes in the future.

Copyright 2020 KKTV. All rights reserved.

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